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Stanford's Lutz looking to go out a winner in volleyball

 
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Stanford hosts Utah in its last regularly scheduled match on Wednesday night at 7 pm. Photo by Al Chang/isiphotos.com.

Merete Lutz is more than happy to spend a fifth year with her Stanford women's volleyball teammates. She's having fun, playing well and, for the first time, experienced an outright Pac-12 Conference championship.

She'll be playing her final regular-season home game with the Cardinal (24-3, 17-1) on Wednesday when No. 15 Utah visits Maples Pavilion for a 6 p.m. conference match to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.


Christine Alftin/Kelley Cox,klfc photos
Lutz, a Dallas native and Houston resident, has recorded 1,169 kills during her stay at Stanford, ranks eighth in career blocks with 482 and seventh with a .351 hitting percentage.

She recorded her season high in kills with 21 in a five-set victory over UCLA last week. She's reached double-digit kills in 10 of her past 13 matches and has 15 overall.

Lutz, a three-time All-American, will be the only senior honored.

Utah enters the week tied for third place in the Pac-12 with Washington. The Utes lead the conference in kills (14.46) and assists (13.76), rank second in opponent hitting percentage (.189) and third in digs (15.78) and attack percentage (.256).

Stanford has clinched the Pac-12 title but its still playing for a national seed, hopefully among the top four, which would keep them at home, where the defending national champion Cardinal is 12-0 on the year. Stanford is 12-1 all-time against the Utes.

Lutz won the conference's Offensive Player of the Week honors two weeks ago. Stanford outside hitter Kathryn Plummer and middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris are the reigning Players of the Week. Stanford boasts 105 Pac-12 players of the week all-time, including five this season. Morgan Hentz also won Defensive Player of the week honors in October.

Stanford can match its best conference record since going undefeated in 1997 by winning out. The Cardinal closes the season at California on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Volleymag.com reported that Bears coach Matt McShane was not with the team last week and is on a leave of absence for the rest of the season. Stanford grad Spencer McLaughlin, part of Stanford's men's volleyball national championship team in 2010, is on the Cal coaching staff.

Woodside grad Christine Alftin will be playing her final collegiate match for Cal against Stanford. She's been one of Cal's best players during her tenure. She's one of six seniors who will be honored on Saturday.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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